Following on from last month’s article on the HFC Phase Down, EcoChill’s Mathew Darby continues:
“The phase out of Chlorofluorocarbon’s (CFC’s) showed just how successful change under the Montreal Protocol can be. One of the most successful global environmental initiatives ever, the agreement on CFC’s banned their use globally, including in the use of domestic and commercial refrigeration and HVAC systems, to reduce damage to the Ozone layer.
“Ironically, it was the success of the CFC ban that led to demand for “F” gasses, Hydrochlorofluorocarbon’s (HCFC’s) and HFC’s used as replacement refrigerants. It is now understood that while these synthetic refrigerants are not a threat to the ozone layer, they contribute to global warming by trapping heat radiating off the earth and have large Global Warming Potential (GWP).
“New HCFC’s are now banned from being imported into New Zealand, though it seems the phase out and its impacts are less widely understood. In particular, the phase out of R22, a commonly used refrigerant, seems to have caught many unaware, as regulations did not impose a use ban. Many of those that have not moved from R22 systems were unprepared for the change and now face costly ongoing bills or unscheduled investment in new systems as the reality of high prices and unavailability of R22 has come to fruition.
“There is no doubt the election of Donald Trump has left everyone wondering just what will happen next. The talk of his Presidency being the end of global climate change initiatives has left many feeling this may be the end of the world, perhaps literally. Yet there is a strong sense that the global trend towards lower emissions strategies and the HFC phase out in particular will not only continue but is inevitable.
“The United States makes up 16% of global emissions and while significant, the remaining countries including New Zealand who have ratified the agreement are continuing talks at the Climate Change meeting COP22 to understand how to create action plans to ensure the new agreements are not undercut.
“If Trump’s claims to pull out of the agreement are put into action, it won’t affect the European Union “F” Gas Regulations ban on the use of high GWP refrigerants, work that has already begun. Within this framework commercial and freezer installations with a GWP of 2500 or more will be banned by 2020, and those with a GWP of 150 or more banned by 2022. Given the number of global manufacturers and suppliers committed to the European market there is no doubt investment in low GWP refrigerants and the trend towards the use of ‘natural’ refrigerants will continue.